Saturday, December 28, 2013

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Peste Des Petits Ruminants - China Reports Outbreak Of Rare Goat Plague In Xinjiang!

December 28, 2013 - CHINA - The Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday confirmed that goats in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have died of a plague called “peste des petits ruminants.”

On Dec. 21, a farm reported that 176 goats had showed symptoms of the disease in Hami Prefecture and 34 of them had died. The country’s exotic animal disease research center on Thursday confirmed the epidemic was peste des petits ruminants.

Local authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where 271 goats have been culled and safely disposed of to prevent the disease from spreading.

Peste des petits ruminants, also known as PPR, goat plague or ovine rinderpest, is a contagious disease mainly affecting goats and sheep.

The virus causes fever, lesions, labored breathing and diarrhea in infected animals. - People Daily.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: MERS Contagion - WHO Says 4 New Saudi Cases Of MERS Virus, One Fatal!

December 28, 2013 - MIDDLE EAST - Four more people in Saudi Arabia have been infected with the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus and one of them - an elderly man - has died, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

The new infections, including in two health workers from Riyadh who have not reported any adverse symptoms, bring the worldwide total of confirmed cases of the respiratory disease to 170 with 72 deaths, the United Nations health agency said.

MERS first emerged in the Middle East in September 2012 and is from the same family as the SARS virus, can cause coughing, fever and pneumonia.

Cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Tunisia as well as in several countries in Europe, and scientists are increasingly focused on a link between the human infections and camels as a possible "animal reservoir" of the virus.

In Friday's update, the WHO said the latest MERS death - a 73 year-old man from Riyadh - had reported having contact with animals but had no travel history outside the Riyadh region. The fourth case, in a 53-year-old man from Riyadh, was after contact with a previously confirmed MERS case. He was hospitalised on November 26 and is currently receiving treatment in an intensive care unit, it said.

Dutch and Qatari scientists published research earlier this month that proved for the first time that MERS can also infect camels - strengthening suspicions that these animals, often used in the region for meat, milk, transport and racing, may be a source of the human outbreak.

The WHO said people at high risk of severe disease due to MERS should "avoid close contact with animals when visiting farms or barn areas where the virus is known to be potentially circulating". For the general public it advised normal hygiene steps such as hand washing before and after touching animals, avoiding contact with sick animals and good food hygiene practices. - First Post.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Kamchatka Volcanoes Rocked By Ash Plume Eruptions!

December 28, 2013 - RUSSIA - Activity has picked up at Kizimen volcano again. An ash plume was reported this morning by VAAC Tokyo to 17,000 ft (5 km) altitude extending north.

Webcam images show a significant steam plume which possibly contains ash. This suggests that the lava dome might be entering a new phase of growth. KVERT still maintains the volcano at status “Green” (normal).

Strombolian to mild vulcanian explosions continues at Karymsky volcano. VAAC Tokyo reported an ash plume at 15,000 ft (4,5 km) altitude drifting NW this morning. - Volcano Discovery.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Major Solar System Disturbance - The American Meteor Society Receives Over 500 Reports Of Chelyabinsk-Like Event Over U.S. Midwest!

December 28, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Over 500 reports were sent in to the American Meteor Society website concerning a major fireball event (possibly two) over the U.S. Midwest on December 26th, 2013.

The AMS has received over 460 reports so far about a fireball over the border of Iowa and Minnesota. (Dec. 26th) around 5:35pm central time.

Witnessed described a fireball as bright as the Sun that fragmented into many parts. Several witnesses reported sonic effects associated with the meteors including at least three reports of delayed booms.

WATCH: Over 500 reports of Chelyabinsk-like event over U.S. Midwest.

Below is an estimated trajectory of the fireball based on witness reports based on two different algorithms. (RA: 205.72714158 / 13:42 - DEC: -2.72008690)

AMS Event #3434-2013 Trajectories© AMS

With 620+ witness reports after only 14 hours, this event is already the 5th most reported fireball in the history of the AMS online reporting system.

If you saw this meteor please fill out an official fireball report here.

Here is the current heat map for the event that shows where the witnesses reported from. Click the map below to review the event map and witness reports for this fireball.

AMS Event #3434-2013 -Heat Map

WATCH: Video #1 - Christina Erbe, Communications Specialist, City of North Liberty, Iowa.

WATCH: Video #2 - Tim Cline, Sandia Sentinel All-Sky Network.

Latitude = 41:05:13.650N - Longitude = 93:15:14.911W

WATCH: Video #3 - Fireball over Kansas, Missouri, caught on Missouri State patrol dashcam near Sedalia, Missouri.

WATCH: Video #4 - Fireball recorded while driving through Iowa, USA. Uploaded to YT 27 December 2013 by Andrey Anisimov.

AMS fireball data from 2005 to date

- American Meteor Society.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Hong Kong Confirms First Death From H7N9 Bird Flu Virus!

December 28, 2013 - HONG KONG - An 80-year-old man infected with the H7N9 bird flu virus has died in Hong Kong, the government said on Thursday, in the first such death in the city after the virus surfaced in early December.

A poultry vendor sells chickens at the Kowloon City Market in early December in Hong Kong.

The man, the second person in Hong Kong to be diagnosed with the virus strain, lived in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen and had eaten poultry there, media reported.

The H7N9 strain was first reported in humans in February in mainland China, and has infected at least 139 people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, killing more than 40.

Experts say there is no evidence of any easy or sustained human-to-human transmission of H7N9, and so far all people who came into contact with the man had tested negative for the strain, authorities said. - MSN.